Education and Communications
“Communities under the immediate threat of fire, flood, storm or cyclone are now likely to be much safer because fire and emergency services are now able to warn them, in a way that communities are more likely to take action. This is because of the research that’s been conducted.”
Amanda Leck, Executive Director, Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience

Warnings that save lives.

Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC research was recognised with the Cooperative Research Centres Association’s premier award for Excellence in Innovation 2019. This research shapes warnings and public information campaigns to prepare and protect communities threatened by flood, bushfire, cyclone, storm, heatwave and other natural hazards.

Australian lives are being saved by Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC research that is shaping warnings and public- and school-based information campaigns to prepare and protect communities threatened by flood, fire, heatwave and other natural hazards.

The goal of the projects under this theme was to save lives and empower communities to act to ensure their safety – and the safety of their families and their animals – and to equip emergency management agencies to make better decisions on the planning and targeting of resources.

The research has improved community warning messages, enabled better targeted long-term public safety campaigns, identified best practice approaches to animal emergency management, and placed children at the centre of household and community disaster risk reduction and resilience education campaigns.

The Education and Communications theme has had a strong utilisation focus from the start, with the research teams actively engaged with emergency services agencies, government departments and local community groups.

Online tools

These online tools were developed with CRC research and are designed to be ready for use. The tools here have been curated for this Driving Change theme. See more tools in the other themes.


CRC research has shaped warnings, public information campaigns and recovery to help emergency services protect communities from floods, bushfires, heatwaves and other natural hazards, and to help communities bounce back after a disaster.

This documentary series highlights some of that research. It follows communications and engagement practitioners from different sectors as they meet the researchers and learn how they can apply this knowledge to their own work.  

Watch documentaries


Australian lives are being saved by CRC research that is shaping warnings and public information campaigns to prepare and protect communities threatened by flood, fire, heatwave and other natural hazards.

The National Emergency Management Handbook Public Information and Warnings by the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience, together with the companion guide, Warning Message Construction: Choosing Your Words, draws directly on research from the Effective risk and warning communication during natural hazards project to give guidance on the key considerations for writing effective warning messages, including structures and language styles for specific audiences, such as high-risk groups and non-English speaking communities. In 2021, the research team were essential to the updated second edition, reviewing the handbook to provide advice on new research to be included, as well as updating the companion guide.

The insights presented in the Handbook are equipping emergency service agencies around Australia with better-targeted long-term public safety campaigns as well as evidence-based warning messages delivered to at-risk populations in the face of imminent natural hazard threats.

Access Handbook

Case studies

CRC research is driving change across communities, government and emergency service agencies, as highlighted by the case studies relevant to each Driving Change theme.

Looking back can prevent future flood deaths
CRC research is informing flood warning campaigns, emergency service training and national policy by investigating the circumstances of flood fatalities in Australia from 1900 to 2015.
Emergency planning for animals
A range of emergency planning resources have been developed to highlight the importance of planning for animals during emergencies.
Better warnings to ensure action
With the multitude of warnings issued when an emergency hits, how can emergency services ensure their critical safety advice is heard and acted upon, rather than dismissed as noise?
School-based education for disaster risk reduction
CRC research has evaluated disaster risk reduction and resilience programs in Australian schools to explore contributions to mitigation and prevention of disaster impacts on lives and property.
Taking protective action during floods and storms
Public safety messages for floods and storms will be broadcast on ABC Radio this severe weather season, backed by CRC research.


This collection is a curation of the best and most recent news articles, Hazard Notes, videos, posters, guides, journal articles and reports relevant to this theme.